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Next time you receive your Asda groceries to your door, you might spot something different about your delivery driver’s uniform. Some delivery drivers will be wearing bright badges with the words ‘Happy to Chat’ printed on them.
The ‘Happy to Chat’ initiative is Asda’s contribution to tackling its customers’ loneliness during the pandemic.
The scheme offers Asda delivery drivers the option to wear a badge to let customers know that they are happy to have a chat with them while their groceries are being delivered.
Asda has described the scheme as “delivering kindness”.
On its website this week, the supermarket announced that ‘Happy to Chat’ initiative is being extended, making the badges a permanent part of delivery drivers’ uniforms, if they so wish.
The extension comes after the initiative was first launched as a trial last November.
It was launched in conjunction with the Royal Voluntary Service after Asda recognised that its drivers were a lifeline for some people during the pandemic.
Asda found that almost a quarter of its customers were only interacting with people once a week, many of whom were delivery drivers.
This lack of human interaction can lead to loneliness and other mental health issues.
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After a positive response and uptake from drivers, the supermarket is now making the badges a permanent option for all its 7,500 delivery drivers across the UK.
Simon Gregg, Vice President of Online Grocery at Asda, said: “As COVID restrictions begin to lift but many still feeling the impact of the last year without regular contact with friends and family, it felt right to make our Happy to Chat badges a permanent fixture to our drivers’ uniforms.
“We’re incredibly proud of all the work they do – and this badge is a symbol of their continued friendly and approachable service which can make such a difference to those that don’t have much contact with others,” Mr Gregg added.
Drivers also shared their experiences of wearing the badges while delivering groceries to customers.
Delivery driver Geoff Norris said: “We’ve had such a positive response from customers since we introduced the badges, you can tell that even a five minute chat with someone whilst you’re delivering their shopping can have a such a positive impact on their day.”
In a video made by Asda to celebrate the initiative’s trial last year, the supermarket spoke to a few elderly customers who have been impacted by loneliness since the start of the pandemic.
One elderly customer said: “You do miss seeing people and chatting to people.”
Another shopper shared her experience, admitting: “Lockdown was awful because that’s when my husband was dying.”
A young mother told Asda: “We’ve got a child that has a lot of medical needs, so we have been quite isolated.”
“There is nobody to converse with, you’re really talking to yourself all day,” added another elderly customer living on her own.
Asda said that it wants its lonely and isolated customers to know that its delivery drivers are “there for them”.
Delivery driver Elesha Moses said: “We’re just delivering, but if we can spend an extra couple of minutes just talking to them and making them feel okay, and we leave them with a smile on their face, you know, that’s nice.”
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